I always bring a shovel with me when I’m on my sled. Over the years, I’ve used many different snow tools on the trail. All of this experience has made me picky about the equipment I choose to use.
The FXR Tactic Shovel is the best option I’ve used in a while and comes highly recommended for any snowmobiler.
This shovel has a slightly curved blade that I think works more effectively than most flat-style options. It also extends to just over 3-feet and has a nice handle that offers good grip and comfort.
Whether you strap a shovel to your sled or a backpack, it’s a highly recommended piece of equipment to bring along any time you are out riding.
I’ll show you a handful of my favorite shovels here. All of them will scoop through snow, but the best options are lightweight, collapsible, and built to handle years of use.
Let’s dig in and get going.
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Top Choices for Best Snowmobile Shovel
In a pinch, any shovel will work for digging snow. But if you get your hands on one of the best options listed below, you’ll have a multi-functional snow tool that will come in very useful on the trail and let you act quickly in an emergency.
- Best for: Overall
- Key features: Curved blade, expandible and collapsible, lightweight, serrated ice-breaker edge, built-in cross-cut saw
- Construction: Forged aluminum
- Length: Extends to 37-inches max
- Collapsable: Yes
The FXR Tactic is a great shovel overall and comes in as the best option on this list.
My favorite thing about this shovel is its curved blade. This makes it better at scooping and shoveling quickly compared to flat blade options. After using a curved shovel blade for a while now, I don’t think I’d ever go back.
The Tactic is made out of a forged aluminum material that is very strong, durable, and lightweight. You won’t risk bending or breaking it, even when digging heavy hard-packed snow or ice. It’s also light enough to strap to your backpack without worry.
The blade has a serrated edge to help cut and slice through snow, and you’ll also get the benefit of a cross-cut saw blade that stores inside of the handle. This can come in handy when you are checking avalanche conditions or building snow caves.
It’s collapsible for quick storage but expands to a nice size of 37-inches for added leverage. I think this is the perfect sized shovel to bring with you into the backcountry, either strapped to your sled or your back.
The only place where I think the Tactic could be improved upon is the handle. It works, but it’s not quite as form-fitting as some other options I’ve used.
- Best for: Low Profile/Compact Option
- Key features: Low profile, breaks down quickly, lightweight, pointed blade, comfortable handle
- Construction: High-grade aluminum
- Length: 25.6-inches max
- Collapsable: Yes
If you want a smaller, low-profile option, the FridLife Folding Snow Shovel is the way to go.
This is a great option for anyone who wants to attach a shovel to their backpack when they ride without being weighed down. It’s built of high-grade aluminum and weighs in at under a pound.
It also has a strong and durable blade with a pointed tip to help penetrate harder snow, allowing you to dig quickly and effectively.
A telescopic design gives you the ability to adjust the length from 17.13 to 25.79 inches. This isn’t a huge variation but allows you to adapt in the backcountry if you need to.
The shovel is very easy to collapse and assemble with the push of a button. It also has a comfortable handle that helps when you need to dig deep or often.
The compact nature of the FridLife means you don’t get a lot of added features. And the under 26” length is pretty short – you might find the need for increased leverage.
- Best for: High-End Option
- Key features: Strong, snow hoe feature, folding saw included, durable blade, great digging power
- Construction: T6 Aluminum
- Length: 31.9-inches max
- Collapsable: Yes
If you can spend a little more money and want a solid and functional option, check out the Arctic Cat Backcountry Access Dozer D-2.
This is another awesome snowmobile shovel that includes some added features that give you expanded capabilities in the snow. It can fold into a hoe, giving you the ability to scoop and clear snow, and also comes with a 6.5-inch folding saw that stores in the handle.
It extends up to 31.9-inches for significant leverage and digging power when you have it folded like a regular shovel as well. Lightweight but very strong T6 aluminum gives you a good cut and bites into hard snow without adding weight.
This is a more aggressive shovel that can come in handy when you need to dig through large amounts of snow or just want the peace of mind to know that you’ll be able to do so if required.
The downside is that a more aggressive build and added features weigh things down a bit. This is a heavier shovel that is better left attached to your sled than on your back.
- Best for: Budget Pick
- Key features: Affordable, lightweight, easy to pack, adjustable handle, powder-coated blade
- Construction: Aluminum
- Length: 32-inches max
- Collapsable: Yes
The Lifeline Aluminum Sport Utility Shovel is a good pick for anyone on a budget.
It’s a highly affordable option that will still give you plenty of digging power and capability. It’s also extremely lightweight and can easily fit inside a backpack, which benefits anyone who wants to shed pounds on a big backcountry excursion.
An adjustable handle allows you to set up the shovel at three different lengths – 21”, 26”, and 32”. It also easily breaks down into three pieces that can quickly be assembled on the trail.
I’d also recommend this shovel for the casual snowmobiler who doesn’t get out in the snow that often buts want to be ready when the time comes.
This isn’t the most durable or strong option on the list. That’s a tradeoff for its very affordable price. The 3-piece style is nice when saving space, but you can easily lose part of the handle if you don’t stow them carefully.
- Best for: Heavy Duty Option
- Key features: Strong and reliable, extendible handle, folding hoe capability, comfortable handle, multiple colors available
- Construction: Heavy-duty aluminum
- Length: 30-inches max
- Collapsable: Yes
The Subzero Heavy Duty Aluminum Emergency Shovel is the recommended choice for any snowmobiler who wants strength and power on their side.
It is built of heavy-duty aluminum that can cut through hard snow and break up ice quickly. You can rely on this shovel to be effective in all types of snow, and it’s also highly versatile.
A folding hoe function gives you additional digging and scooping power. It has a lightweight blade with a pointed tip that with chip and pick away hardpacked snow. This dual function makes it a great asset on the trail.
It also has a handle that can extend up to 30-inches for a long reach and added leverage. You can quickly collapse the tool when you’re ready to get back to riding or to store it in the car.
An ergonomic handle and curved bar add to the function and effectiveness as well. It’s a powerful shovel that works consistently, no matter how you use it.
The volume of the blade is on the smaller side. This means you won’t get as much scooping power as larger options. That’s the only real issue to mention, and this is another highly recommended shovel.
What to Look for in a Snowmobile Shovel
Here are some important things to look for in a snowmobile shovel.
You can technically use any type of shovel if you have a way to attach it to your snowmobile. But a lightweight and strong construction is highly recommended. A standard snow shovel can easily break in the backcountry.
All of the shovels here are built with lighter metals that are very strong. This will give you the power to dig effectively without weighing down your sled or backpack. You also want to make sure there is no plastic in the blade or bar as this can break in the cold.
I would always recommend that you get a collapsible snowmobile shovel. This makes it much easier to strap onto your sled or backpack. If you don’t get an option that breaks down, you risk having it come loose or get in the way while you are riding.
All of the options you’ll find on this list break down into two pieces or more. A good shovel will quickly collapse for storage and easily fit back together so you can get digging quickly when you need to.
Length is another important consideration with a snowmobile shovel. A shorter shovel will be easier to pack, but it won’t give you as much leverage if you need to dig out hard, heavy snow.
I would suggest getting a shovel that can expand to at least 2-feet at a minimum, but I like options that give me 3-feet or more of total length. Many options are expandable, and you can adjust the length to your preference.
For a high-quality option that will give you good digging power, hold up for years, and pack easily on your sled, the FXR Tactic Shovel is a recommended top choice. The curved blade gives you a little boost over the competition.
You need to be prepared whenever you venture into the backcountry on a snowmobile. Having a shovel is great, but knowing how to properly use that shovel in an avalanche or other emergency is also key. Educate yourself as best you can before you head out.About Chaz Wyland